There is nothing stopping you from signing up to every microstock agency you feel like joining right now. Seriously. Most of the libraries mentioned on this site will allow you to join without even having to submit a single image right away. You can simply create an account for free and then take your time reading the forums and tutorials on each site to figure out which images you should submit for your initial image inspection.
Here are links to each of the microstock sites that I use where you can sign up right away, before continuing with the next (more time consuming) steps of image selection and keywording.
Shutterstock | Dreamstime | iStockPhoto | 123RF | Fotolia | PhotoDune | Veer | Depositphotos | BigStock | CanStockPhoto | YAY Images | Stockfresh | GL Stock Images | Mostphotos | Zoonar | Cutcaster | Sign Elements | Pixmac | Pond5 | FeaturePics
Each site will have a different Contributor’s Agreement that you should read if you are concerned in any way, but essentially most of them state the same fundamentals – you will ALWAYS retain copyright of the image (unless you specifically elect to sell it on individual files), your image cannot be used in a defamatory way, you agree to their sales and royalty structure and so on.
Be careful in signing up that you don’t choose to be an Exclusive contributor, unless you have given it some serious thought. (Read this first)
Some microstock agency’s agreements also state that in uploading images to them you agree to keep those images for sale on that site for a period of “X months”, usually 6 months or so. This just helps them maintain a consistent database, without massive pull-outs frequently.
It’s entirely up to you when, or if, you choose to sign up with any agency. However, some microstock agencies (like Shutterstock for example) have rather strict initial selection processes, and once you have tried and if you fail, you then need to wait 30 days till you can try again. My advice – try as soon as you can, because most of us will fail (myself included!) at least once, and these are the libraries that you REALLY want to be a part of if you want to earn anything.
So signing up sooner rather than later helps you get your initial submission together quickly in case you fail first up and need to wait till you are allowed to try again. Signing up also usually allows you access to the agency’s contributor forum, where you can get help from others about how to get accepted. These forums are invaluable and you really should consider taking a read through them regularly once you have joined so you can learn from others and keep abreast of the latest news.
Finished signing up? Next step is knowing which images to sell…
1 - Join The Best Microstock Agencies,